SCREEN AFRICA EXCLUSIVE:
Earlier this year, MultiChoice Africa launched a call to all aspiring African film directors, DOPs, sound professionals, and scriptwriters. Those selected would get the opportunity to hone their craft in a year-long, funded programme supported by the MultiChoice Talent Factory (MTF).
“The film and television industry has not developed at the same rate as other industries on the continent, and not for a lack of talent, passion or imagination. It is true that we are abundantly blessed in these areas, however the space given for this expression has at best been limited and at worst been relegated to the fringes of the mainstream economy, leaving in its wake unfulfilled dreams, unexplored talent and unwritten stories,” shares MultiChoice Talent Factory Academy director, Cheryl Uys-Allie.
In an effort to change this and to unlock the true potential of Africa’s creative industries, MultiChoice Africa has launched a pan-African initiative that will provide important training and on-the-job placements for young African creatives.
The initiative was launched on 30 May 2018 with a call for applications for the MTF Academies based in Kenya for East Africa, Nigeria for West Africa and Zambia for Southern African countries.
MultiChoice went on to launch the three regional academies in these countries from 8 to 10 October this year.
MTF Academy director for West Africa, Femi Odugbemi, comments: “We need interventions like the MTF so that emerging filmmakers are better equipped in the creative processes that have scholarship and technology at their foundation. We must consciously build capacity so that our next-generation filmmakers and producers can also create wealth and create employment by being entrepreneurs as well.”
During the launch of the MTF Academy in Kenya – held at the MultiChoice Kenya headquarters in Nairobi – Information and Communication cabinet secretary, Joseph Mucheru, praised the initiative, saying: “I am thankful to MultiChoice for the immense investment they are putting into making sure that we have the right skills being developed and these will be useful for television, film and other industries.
“This will go a long way in ensuring that jobs are being created. I hope the class of 2018 will be an inspiration to future generations who aspire to be in this industry,” added Mucheru.
The final applicants were chosen through a shortlisting process which resulted in 60 students selected to participate in the 12-month training programme.
The MultiChoice Talent Factory Academy is aimed at young people who do not have tertiary-level education. Courses at the academy are taught by local industry experts in partnership with recognised institutions to ensure the credibility and professionalism of the qualification.
The year-long programme will culminate in a graduation event. Pan-Atlantic University in Nigeria, Jomo Kenyatta University in Kenya and the Zambia Institute of Mass Communication (ZAMCOM) are the three learning institutions that have partnered with the initiative.
Classes began in October with two weeks of orientation and formal training is now underway. During the 12-month training programme, students will:
study cinematography theory and the practice of film;
undertake practical application of learnt practices in cinematography;
embark on internships with production houses that have productions running on the M-Net and DStv platforms;
be given the opportunity to pitch a production idea to leaders within the industry;
produce a high quality long-format television production.
“In addition to the training, the MultiChoice Talent Factory students will produce two one-hour films for broadcast on our local M-Net channels. By the time they leave our academies, our students can see their names rolling across the closing credits on screen! This is a truly life-changing opportunity,” explains Uys-Allie.
Apart from the training initiative, the MultiChoice Talent Factory will host masterclasses aimed at industry professionals. Furthermore, the MultiChoice Talent Factory Portal will go live in mid-February 2019. The portal is an online platform that will act as a one-stop shop for work, people and content regarding the African film and television industry. The portal will also include a networking section for people within the industry to sign up and market themselves and their works to an African and global audience.
Maharage Chande, the Northern Region director at MultiChoice Africa, concludes: “The key to the longevity of our culture, industry and storytelling traditions, lies in the opportunities we create for established creative professionals to exercise their craft while simultaneously mentoring the next generation. The MultiChoice Talent Factory is a critical link to realising this dream. It is through this lens that we celebrate our investment in the development of future creative leaders, the local economy and reverence for the art of storytelling in the African tradition – truly giving agency to the MultiChoice vision of enriching lives.”